INCHEON, South Korea: The Philippines on Saturday ended one of its most forgettable campaigns in the Asian Games in more than two decades, triggering a call for a review of the country’s sports program.
The 150-member Philippine contingent will be bringing home a lean harvest of one gold, three silvers and 11 bronzes, good for 22nd place in the Incheon Games.
It failed to even match its output of three golds, four silvers and nine bronzes in the 2010 Games in Guangzhou, China.
The country also bagged just one gold in the 1998 Games in Bangkok, Thailand, and the 1990 Games in Beijing, China.
“We need to review the programs of our national sports associations as we’ll be preparing for some qualifying tournaments for the 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil, as well as the 2015 Southeast Asian Games in Singapore,” said Chief of Mission Richie Garcia, who is also chairman of the Philippine Sports Commission.
Garcia said “our athletes did their best and we’re proud of them.”
BMX rider Daniel Caluag, the lone gold medalist for the Philippines in Incheon, is already setting his sights on the 2016 Olympics in Brazil.
The US-based cyclist is aiming to surpass his quarterfinal finish in the 2012 London Games.
“The Olympics is still two years from now but me and my coach [Greg Romero] has already set our goal—the Rio games. We’ve already taken steps and that includes this [Asian Games],” Caluag said.
The other Filipino medalists are Charly Suarez of boxing, and Jean Claude Saclag and Daniel Parantac of wushu (silver); and archer Paul Marlon dela Cruz, boxers Mark Barriga, Mario Fernandez and Wilfredo Lopez, karateka Mae Soriano, tae kwo do jins Benjamin Sembrano, Thomas Morrison, Mary Pelaez, Kirstie Elaine Alora and Ronna llao, and wushu artist Francisco Solis (bronze).
Karateka Gay Mabel Arevalo, the country’s last bet in the Incheon Asiad, bowed out of contention in the women’s 50 kilograms kumite, losing 8-0 to Sru Nita Sari Sukatendel of Indonesia on Saturday, a few hours before the closing ceremonies.
As expected, China dominated the Games with 151 golds, 108 silvers and 83 bronzes. Trailing far behind were South Korea (79-71-84), Japan (47-76-77), Kazakhstan (28-23-33) and Iran (21-18-18).
Thailand led the Southeast Asian countries that took part in the Games, finishing in sixth place with 12 golds, 7 silvers and 28 bronzes). Malaysia was in 14 place (5-14-14), Singapore 15th (5-6-13), Myanmar 20th (2-1-1), Vietnam 22nd (1-10-25), Cambodia 28th (1-0-0) and Laos 33rd (0-1-2).